Rebecca Adlington is Great Britain’s most successful Olympic
swimmer of the past 100 years, having won four medals across two Olympic Games
in 2008 and 2012.
On her Olympic debut at Beijing 2008, Adlington became a
household name overnight after winning gold in the 400m Freestyle. Later in the
week, Adlington set a world record in the heats of the 800m Freestyle before
going on to win the final two days later in another world record of 8:14.10 -
two seconds under the previous record set by USA's Janet Evans when Adlington
was six months old.
The teenager's achievements in China made her the first
British swimmer to win two Olympic gold medals since 1908 and first British
Olympic swimming champion since Adrian Moorhouse at Seoul 1988.
The following season, Adlington scooped her first World
Championship medals in the long course pool, winning bronze in both the 400m
Freestyle and 4x200m Freestyle Relay.
She returned to her best form in time for her Commonwealth
debut at Delhi 2010, doubling up again for golds over 400m and 800m Freestyle,
as well as adding two more bronze medals over 200m Freestyle and 4x200m
In 2011, Adlington completed her collecting of international
titles, becoming Great Britain's first freestyle world champion with 800m
Freestyle gold in Shanghai, having already won 400m Freestyle silver earlier in
She signed off in memorable style at her second Olympic
Games in front of a home crowd at London 2012, springing a surprise bronze
medal from an outside lane in the 400m Freestyle, then repeating the result to
win an emotional 800m Freestyle bronze.